Quiet and bucolic reader,
Upright man, sober and naive,
Throw away this book, saturnine,
Orgiac and melancholy.
If you did not do your rhetoric
With Satan, that artful dean,
Throw it away, you’d grasp nothing,
Or else think me hysterical.
You’d never understand the literature I read. It’s not for you.
When I read it, I see her jet black hair caressing her shoulders, resting on them like a lover. I see an ivory smile and playful eyes, beckoning me closer. Come. Come closer. I see red ribbon, slightly crooked, concealing the loosened collar of an untucked shirt. Explore, the eyes say.
When I read it, I feel rough cloth sliding through my fingers, giving way to soft skin. I feel the smoothness and contours of this body carved from dreams–the bumps and the dimples. Sink in, they say.
When I read it, I smell the sweat on her skin, taste the balm on her lips and hear a gasp as quiet as a whisper yet glorious as the trumpeting of the heavenly host. This is for you, they say.
You’d never understand this book.
It would not speak to you.
But if, without being entranced,
Your eye can plunge in the abyss,
Read me, to learn to love me;
Inquisitive soul that suffers
And keeps on seeking paradise,
Pity me!… or else, I curse you!
~Epigraph for a Condemned Book (by Charles Baudelaire; translated by William Aggeler)